Friday, August 30, 2013

This Week at the Durham Farmers' Market

On this Labor Day weekend, signs of the impending change of season are starting to show up, namely in the form of new vegetables coming to the Market. This week we will see some of the first sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, radishes and turnips of the late summer fall season. But, before we transition into an autumn state of mind, lets take a moment to revel in something that has a short season and won't be around for much longer... FIGS!

This year the local figs season got a late start. Like many crops this summer, the cool, rainy weather has slowed down the growth and ripening of the fig crops. For some farmers, their fig crops are ripening two weeks later than last year. Figs need bright, sunny weather in order to ripen well. So, if the weather cooperates, we will see figs at the market for the next couple of weeks.

Figs have a distinction of being almost exclusively available at farmers' markets. You don't typically see them in grocery stores because they tender skin that bruises easily, so figs can't survive long trips in refrigerated trucks or weeks of storage. Even though, figs are really at their best when eaten straight off the tree, the next best thing is find them at the farmers' market, knowing that they were picked the day before or the same day that you buy them!

On Wednesday during Market, I asked a number of farmers how they like to enjoy figs besides just eating them straight. Judy from Harlands Creek Farm, smiled at the question and said, "That's the only way that I eat them! But, I bet they are also good with cheese."

So, walked over to Portia from Chapel Hill Creamery to recommend a good cheese to eat with figs. She recommended her Farmers Cheese, which she described as having "a tangy, clean, refreshing, milky flavor."

Finally, I talked to Renee from Wild Scallions Farm and she had lots of ideas! Renee told me that she likes to make simple fig compotes. To make her compote, she takes a pint of figs, quarters them, cooks them down in a sauce pan with a splash of red wine until you have a thick jam-like consistency. Another tasty compote that she makes is mixing some honey, lemon and toasted sesame seeds with the quartered figs. Cook this mixture down to a jam like consistency. Renee says these compotes are "good on everything!"

A fig-loving customer of Renee's, says that figs freeze well. To freeze, place figs on a cookie sheet and place in freezer until frozen. Then combine them in a freezer bag. Besides enjoying a yummy frozen fig during the winter months, Renee told me that you could use the frozen figs to make fig ice cream. To make a single serving of instant fig ice cream, take 2 or 3 frozen figs and blend them with some cream and enjoy!

However you enjoy figs, Renee shared some wise words about figs. She said, "Get 'em now! They won't last long!"

See you at the Market,
Erin Kauffman
Market Manager
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Upcoming Events
Saturday August 31st, 10am  CANNING DEMO! Assistant Market Manager will demonstrate how to make and can yummy Tomato SALSA!

Saturday & Sunday September 21& 22, 1-5pm both day - Eastern Triangle Farm Tour! This year's tour includes the following DFM vendors... Meadow Lane Farm, SEEDS, Wild Scallions Farm, Spain Farm, and Vollmer Farm along with 22 other great farms in Durham, Granville, Wake, Franklin and Chatham Counties! More info & tickets:

Fresh this Week....
FRUITS: SCUPPERNONG GRAPES, Apples, Figs, Pears, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Raspberries, Blueberries, Peaches
VEGETABLES: SWEET POTATOES, SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS, RADISHES, TURNIP, SWISS CHARD,  Amaranth Greens, Arugula, Beans (Green, Yellow and Purple), Beets, Bitter Gourd, Butterbeans, Butternut Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Delicata Squash, Edamame, Fresh & Dried Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Catnip, Dill, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Sorrel, Parsley), Eggplant, Frisee, Green Onions, Garlic, Gourds, Kale, Lambs Quarter, Lettuce, Long Beans, Malabar Spinach, Okra, Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Pea Shoots, Pumpkins, Purple Hull Peas, Salad Mix, Sweet Potato Greens, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Zucchini, and more
MEATS AND EGGS:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Rabbit
Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged COW and GOAT milk cheeses.
PLANTS: Bedding, House, and Flower Plants.
FLOWERS: Lisianthus, Tuberose, Black Eyed Susan, Gladiolus, Echinacea, Sunflower, Dahlia, Lily, Zinnia, Mixed Bouquets
SPECIALTY ITEMS: RAW HONEY, creamed Honey, Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies & Pastries, Fermented Foods, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Pastas, Perogies, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Handmade Baskets, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Goats Milk Soaps, Body Butters, Lotions, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions 

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